Administrator’s Note: We here at TTAF are taking a break from blogging for the rest of the year. We feel that it is important that we take some time off to spend with friends and family, and also to relax a bit as the past year has been hectic for all four of us. We cannot thank you enough for reading, commenting on and sharing TTAF. We hope to use this time off to create more posts that we hope you will enjoy. While we are on hiatus we would still love to hear from you via the comments section and also by writing guest posts. We are looking for writers from all backgrounds, yes even women, to contribute to the site and if you are interested please send us an email. We are seeking to create a community experience with this blog and in order to do so we want to hear from you.
In the meantime we will be counting down the top fifty posts (out of 353) from this year. Once we are done with that we will get back to our regular blogging. As you read these posts feel free to share them on any number of social media sites with the buttons found below each post and above the comments section. Have a great holiday season.
-Matt, Drew, Josh, and Curtis-
For the original post, click here.
One doesn’t have to search too hard to be reminded that our world is broken, that horrible things happen on a pretty regular basis.
In fact this was a topic of discussion in one of our Thursday night meetings a month or so ago. Matt shared the story of a family that he had encountered that had suffered a tragic loss and they were struggling to come to grips with the events that took place in light of their faith. You can read the post that Matt wrote in reaction to his experience here.
We discussed around the bonfire that night the fact that, for the most part, we can explain theologically and give the textbook answers for the problem of evil. Matt and I in particular have spent time in circles in college in which this was a relatively oft discussed topic. I feel as if I have a decent understanding of why bad things happen. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept when they happen, and it certainly doesn’t offer any solace to a family suffering from the loss of a loved one or something equally devastating.
I write this at the risk of sounding as if I am trying to diminish the tragedies and the evil that occur in people’s lives every day, and so please let me assure you now that nothing could be further from the truth. However, the fact is I think we often focus so much on the bad things that happen in our own lives and the lives of others that we forget to notice the blessings that occur just as frequently, if not more so.
One of the blessings that are relatively obvious to most people are children. Babies are often referred to as a blessing from God, and that they are. My wife and I just had our first child, a daughter, named Eva, on the twentieth of this month (I couldn’t resist making a picture of her the header image for this post). To say that she is a blessing to my wife and I is an understatement.
The other day I found myself in a bit of a pity party, reflecting on how life rarely seems to go my way, I think we all do this at some point. There was no great tragic event that had taken place and there was no real oppression being acted upon me, just suffice it to say that I, like the other writers here at TTAF, thought that I would find myself in a different position in life at the age of twenty-seven. It is easy to get depressed and feel sorry for yourself in times like this, and even more so in times of a great trial in life, like the death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship or an atrocity committed upon a loved one or yourself.
It was in the midst of me feeling sorry for myself that I realized just how blessed I have been lately, more specifically how blessed I have been in the birth of my daughter. Allow me to explain:
#1 My wife and I lived in Haiti up until May of 2011, and at that point our plans included having children and raising them in Haiti.
#2 Due to a series of events, my wife and I decided that we were being called to leave Haiti and a place where I thought we would live and work for the foreseeable future, if not forever.
#3 We moved back to America and moved in with my parents. Needless to say I was not thrilled to be twenty-seven and moving in with my parents along with my wife. As far as living with your parents goes, it was great and I am extremely thankful for them, but the general concept was a bit humiliating.
#4 In January 2012 my wife and I decided that we would start trying to have a baby with the intention of moving out of my parent’s house by the time the baby was born. She became pregnant shortly after.
#5 In May 2012 we found out that my wife has a medical condition which meant that she would be on bed-rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. We went in to find out the sex of our baby and ended up staying in the hospital for a few days.
#6 The summer was really long.
#7 We moved into an apartment at the end of the Summer.
#8 My daughter was born less than two weeks ago and other than a few minor complications, she is completely healthy.
So why do I tell you all of this? Because on the surface one would say that “Curtis moved back to America and was blessed with a daughter,” but in reality that doesn’t even begin to explain the blessing.
If we had remained in Haiti we would not currently have our daughter. With my wife’s condition Eva would have died before she was born. Was this the reason that God called us to leave Haiti? No, I don’t think so, but it is certainly a blessing that came from a difficult period in our lives. We left many friends and people we considered family, had some hard conversations and shed many tears through the decision to come back to America, not knowing why these things were happening.
I applied for grad school a few times when we returned, only to be rejected an equal number of times. I was pretty set on going to school and was equally devastated when I was rejected. I thought for sure that is what I was supposed to do. Maybe it still is but what I know now is that it would be a horrible season of life to work, go to school, have a newborn, and move all at the same time. Again, I was upset when I was not accepted to school, but now I see some previously unforeseen benefits.
At some point in time my wife’s ob/gyn decided that she no longer wanted to deliver babies and to just focus on the other aspects of her vocation. The result was that my wife switched doctors to Dr. Steele, recommended to her by a friend.
Dr. Steele sends all of her twenty week patients to a high risk office, where the ultrasounds are better, in order to learn the sex of their babies. Had she not decided to do this then we never would have found the condition that my wife has, and as Dr. Steele stated my wife would have been walking down the street at around twenty-four weeks when Eva would have “dropped” out (at the ultrasound Eva’s foot was already pushing into my wife’s cervix) and most likely died.
Had I not been living with my parents at the time, the bills, along with my wife not being able to work, would have left us in quite the financial crisis.
Was it all worth it? Absolutely. I would do it ten more times and go through situations one hundred times more difficult to get to where I am today, writing this post with my daughter sleeping next to me. Also, it is worth noting that this is just the part of the story that I am aware of. Each person involved has their story that brought them into contact with my wife, child and myself.
I have absolutely no clue where I am going in life, but if experience has taught me anything it is that no matter what happens, with the help of God, everything is going to be alright. It will not be easy, and we will all most likely face great hardships at various points in our lives, hardships that we cannot even begin to explain. I am usually quick to point out to myself, and sometimes God, that I have done nothing to deserve the bad things that happen to me, and so I am quick to complain. As much as I like to wonder why I am being treated unfairly, I rarely sit back and think that I have been blessed beyond even what I can imagine, especially when the events are taking place.
I think we need to stop focusing so much on when and how things go wrong in life and start thinking more about all the times when things have gone right.